Monster Month – PearceyPlays #FM20 OS5 C2 S1 – Part 47 – Dundalk – October 2023

Field Hospital set up for all my injured players this month

Welcome to a crazy 10-game (Possibly 11) October 2023. We’re really struggling with injuries as we get towards our 60th competitive game this season, and this isn’t going to help. But we can wrap up the League and win the FAI cup this month so we need to keep on going. Next Season will necessitate 2 full squads I think.

Straight up we have an important league game versus Cobh Ramblers – no more draws allowed!! Roma Away will most probably be a weakened team as we have the FAI Cup Semi 4 days after. 5 whole days before the crunch Shamrock League game then 3 more league games before our next Champions League game, away at Old Trafford. 2 more League games bring the total games up to 10 for the month.

Still an A- with the board… Dynamics Good, Very Good, Excellent.

1st October 2023 – Cobh Ramblers (H) – Irish Premier Division

We welcome out friends Cobh to Oriel Park, and we need to be ruthless this evening.

Davenport getting a go as BBM (He’s left footed as well so works on that side) with Dan Kelly on the right. First choice centre-backs with 2nd-choice wingbacks… Cobh go with their defensive 4-4-2.

FT Cobh Ramblers 0 Dundalk 5 (Connolly 24, Jordan Kelly 33, 39, 66, Collins 48) Att 395 (125 Away)

Looks like a nice calm evening for football down at St. Colman’s Park this evening. Dan Kelly should have opened the scoring in the 3rd minute – somehow shooting wide from 5 yards. We end up breaking the deadlock in the 24th minute – wingers combining as Connolly heads in well from 10 yards-or-so following good work from Dan Kelly. 1-0 Dundalk. The boys are playing well. 2-0 in the 33rd, unfortunate for Cobh, one of those slide tackles (McClelland on McCabe) that goes straight to the opponent to tap in, in this case Jordan Kelly, his 18th of the Season. Cobh definitely opening up a bit. And its 3 in the 39th, Jordan Kelly with a low volley direct from a Connolly corner. Poor defending. nearly his hat-trick in injury time, a good save from Higgins preventing it. 3-0 at Half Time.

4-0 in the 48th – Tommy Collins with a slick low-volley from a Jenks free kick, though at second glance he may have shinned-it πŸ™‚ Kick-off Highlight…Nearly 2 in a minute for Collins. 57th minute, Kelly an inch from his hat-trick, his header denied by the foot of the post. McGrath for Kelly on 60, McGarvey for Collins, just behind Jordan as a Treq. And Jordan does get his hat-trick in the 66th minute – a lovely header from a White cross. Last 20, Corrigan for White. All quiet, 5-0 it finished.

Back to 4 points clear – 8 games left for us, 6 for Shamrock. Cups now for the next week – Arrivederci Roma followed by the FAI Cup Semi Final.

Shamrock sneak a 1-0 versus Sligo – They can get to 81 points (78 if we beat them, 79 if not) so we need 5 wins out of our last 8 games to be sure of the title. And we play Shamrock in our next league game (Theirs too). The fight for 8th will most probably go down to the wire as well – Longford must get at least 2 points from their last 4 games and hope Cobh don’t get any more points this season. Looking like 9th will play one of Bohemians, Drogheda, Galway or U.C.D. – Our affiliate Finn Harps are just 1 win from the title.

Had a few contracts signed – Karl Harmon (18yo DR) and Martin Kenny (18yo MR) signing.

We had 7 players in the IPD Team of the Week πŸ™‚

And Nathan Ngoy will be with us until the end of next season πŸ™‚ Currently our 2nd best player by CA after Jenks.

Interesting results in the Tuesday games! Club Brugge holding Arsenal, Celtic beating a Schalke side comfortably that beat Man City, Chelsea with a big win and PSG sneaking by Kobenhavn.

I’ve given injured Sean Sheehan a new contract – he does have considerable potential, and even if he doesn’t make it with us he should do well elsewhere in Ireland or in the lower leagues in the UK.

4th October 2023 – Roma (A) – UCL Group D Matchday 2

Stadio Olimpico, Roma, Capacity 68,530

We make the trip to Rome for one of the early games (17:55) not expecting anything – it would be nice not to get spanked though – as I’m resting a few key players before our FAI Cup Semi versus Waterford in 5 days.

I watched the Totti documentary last night so I’m looking forward to Colin McGarvey vaulting the hoardings to run to our 50 fans a la Il Capitano himself.

Roma lost their first game in the group 4-0 to Man U and are currently 8th in Serie A – Not won in 4… They qualified for the UCL by finishing 3rd last season, as they did in 21/22.

A Cautious Counter-Attack style – McGarvey as the Pressing Forward, McEleney on the right (Only seems to do his thing when there’s only 1 up top) with Duffy as a conventional winger on the left. Jenks rested for the Cup Semi versus Waterford, benson in as the DLP with Taylor as BBM, and Rea as a Half-Back just behind them. An almost first-team defence, just Laera in place of Moore the difference to the norm. Roma go for a Positive 4-2-3-1 Wide, loads of well known names, weirdest position possibly Gini Wijnaldum at left-back…

FT Roma 4 (Belotti 15, pen 74, 90+ 2, Cristante 61) Dundalk 2 (Ngoy 13, Corrigan 39) Att 58,292 (50 Away)

Super-long kick-off highlight for Roma, think we know what that means… Phew, nothing πŸ™‚ 6th minute, absolute sitter for McGarvey…softly tapped back to Gasparini. Should have been 1-0 Dundalk. Both Roma Centre-Mids (Cristante & Pellegrini) look a bit tired on condition… And then a historic moment for Dundalk, our first UCL Group-Stage goal!!! A McEleney dinked free-kick headed in beautifully by Ngoy!!! 1-0 Dundalk. STOP THE COUNT πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Just kept onside by Wijnaldum of all people! 1-1 only 2 minutes later, too much dicking about at the back and Belotti gets it and scores. Poor, didn’t deal with the press well at all. Apart from the mistake we are holding our own. We are playing some nice football. And we go 2-1 up in the 39th, and its a goal to remember for Ryan Corrigan! An unstoppable top left bins across the keeper from the edge of the area as the Roma defenders back away! 1st goal of the season πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ We go in 2-1 to the good!!

More of the same please!!! Roma have some tired players, we look good with our rotation and training rest working wonders. McGarvey is working well as the outlet, hitting the side netting in the 53rd after skinning centre back Mancini (18 caps for Italy). Decent sub in the 58th – Son Heung-Min on… McGarvey nearly again, dispossessing Mancini, his shot just wide. Then the Set-Piece bias for big teams kicks in. 2-2, 61st minute, Cristante with the header direct from a corner. Double subbage – Davenport for Taylor, Jenks for Benson – Fresh legs against their knackered ones in midfield. And then in the 74th minute Roma get a penalty – Fuck Off Ref!!! Apparently Davenport with a push. Belotti to take… 3-2. McGrath for Duffy for the last 15. Just into injury time, we break, McGarvey pulls it back to Jenks, open goal!! Straight at the Fucking Keeper, with a whole gaol to tap it into. 4-2 in the 2nd minute of injury time, Belotti with his hat-trick, another set piece. So annoyed, we’ve had our chances. 4-2 it finishes.

Porto look useful, Man U scraping a draw.

Confident we could pick something up against Roma at home, felt a bit robbed, especially that fucking penalty.

Other scores on the night saw Leipzig beat Juve and Barcelona scrape a 1-0 versus Anderlecht.

Right, the more important game next up – Waterford in the FAI Cup Semi in 5 days.

More deals signed.

  • Dan Cross (19yo MR)
  • Paddy Keane (21yo DL)
  • Colm McShane (21yo AMC)
  • Graham Norton(!) (36yo Fitness Coach)
  • Bosun Lawal (You’ll remember him from Cobh, 20yo MC)
  • Brian Stapleton (19yo AMC)
  • Mazeed Ogungbo (20yo DC)
  • Aaron McCarey (31yo GK)
  • Dan Kelly (27yo AMR)
  • Harry Durham (19yo STC)

More international crap as well.

Sligo look like comfortably finishing 7th – a step up from last year’s 9th. Cork could have gone 4th with a win.

And our U19’s drew 0-0 with Man Utd U18’s!! Brian Stapleton unfortunately out for a couple of months now after spraining his knee.

More Contracts

  • Chris McCabe (20yo DRLC)
  • Mark Hanratty (21yo ML)
  • Paddy Hannigan (55yo GK Coach)
  • Mick Neville (62yo Ass Man)

St. Pat’s close to within 4 points of Shamrock with their 3-1 win over Shelbourne. Cobh still have their fate in their own hands.

Our U19’s are through to the Playoff Semi with a 4-1 win over Limerick, goals from Derek Hanlon (17yo AML) and a hat-trick from Dan Cross.

8th October 2023 – Waterford (H) – FAI Cup Semi Final

We welcome a useful Waterford side (5th currently in the IPD, no losses in 6) to Oriel Park for the FAI Cup (Premier Cup in Irish football) Semi. We will be looking to take our frustrations out on them after being mugged by Roma on the Tuesday.

Current first team except Ngoy (Banned for Yellows) and the 2 wingbacks, both who IMO are above Waterford’s quality. Waterford go with a Defensive 4-4-1-1.

FT Dundalk 4 (Collins 12, Connolly 15, Jenkinson 35, McGrath pen 57) Waterford 0 Att 4,365 (219 Away)

Hissing it down in Dundalk this autumn afternoon. Waterford look up for it. But Dundalk takes the lead in the 12th minute – Tommy Collins (Playing as an AF, his best position) heading in at the far post from a Brian Connolly corner. Great goal. 1-0 Dundalk. And it’s 2 just 3 minutes late, Connolly this time half-volleying in a Jenks free kick. Big team set-piece bias. 20th minute, a potential knee injury to left back Aidan White… McCabe switching over, Gannon coming on. Quiet for a bit but 3-0 in the 35th, Jenks this time finishing after a Connolly corner was only part-cleared. 3-0 at the break.

Quiet start, but we get a Pen in the 56th minute – Jenks shoved by Poynton. But McCabe has also gone lame – another potential knee injury FFS. Laera on. McGrath steps up… 4-0, great finish, bottom left. Benson on for Jenks for the last 20. It finishes 4-0, we are in the Final. But at what cost?

And we will be playing our affiliate and top-of-the-1st-Division Finn Harps in the final (4th November), their 2 goals scored by our youngsters Ger Ryan and Harry Durham πŸ™‚ Now to the Injuries…

Aidan White – Sprained Knee Ligaments – 6-8 Weeks. Fuck

Chris McCabe – Twisted Knee – 6-8 Days – Thankfully that’s not so bad. Just too many games.

Also Β£45k for the win.

Our 4 loanees who helped Finn Harps to the 1st Division Title and the FAI Cup Final.

Next up is Shamrock on the 14th (So 6 days between games). This is in the middle of an international break though… They got another draw in their Conference League group – 0-0 away in Bulgaria versus Ludogorets.

A couple of the kids were in U19 internationals – Tommy Carlin for N. Ireland in their 1-0 win over Albania and Karl Harmon for Ireland in their 3-0 win over Luxembourg. Ray Moore also played 9 minutes of Ireland U21’s 3-0 win over Russia, Colm McShane played the full match. Colin McGarvey & Tommy Collins started up front for Northern Ireland in their 3-1 loss versus Russia.

14th October 2023 – Shamrock Rovers (H) – Irish Premier Division

Well this could be a shitshow! We welcome a Shamrock side to Oriel Park without the following:

  • Aidan White (Injury)
  • Joe Holloway (Injury)
  • Patrick McEleney (Int. Callup)
  • Colin McGarvey (Int. Callup)
  • Colm McShane (Int. Callup)
  • Chris McCabe (Int. Callup)
  • Tommy Collins (Int. Callup)
  • Augusto Laera (Int. Callup)
  • Ray Moore (Int. Callup)

Shamrock are without Andrew Moore (STC), David Browne (DL) and Kieran Keeshan (GK) – all pretty much ever-present for them this season. I think that hurts Shamrock more TBH. I think my main issue is I’ll be without the above for the next game as well – Longford away in 48 hours… That said Shamrock are also away, but at tougher Waterford…

Lacking the 2nd striker so I’m playing McGrath just behind, with a pretty decent side notwithstanding all those missing. Trying Duffy as a right winger (As he’s right footed) – tempted to try and cash-in on him as I can’t get him to work and he’s injured lots. Shamrock go with a Cautious 4-4-2. Man for Man.

FT Dundalk 4 (Rea 1, McGrath pen 43, Jordan Kelly 79, Duffy 90+2) Shamrock Rovers 0 Att 4,500 (225 Away)

Another rainy day in Dundalk. Wow! 1-0 Dundalk inside a minute. Duffy was hauled down on the edge of the box, Jenks took the free-kick, Rea heads home for his 6th of the season πŸ™‚ Great start! A bit quieter after that, but Dundalk in charge. Just before half-time a penalty to Dundalk, a Shamrock defender missing a header, Jordan Kelly then tripped by Pender. McGrath with the penalty… 2-0 πŸ™‚ bottom right, sending the Keeper the wrong way. 2-0 at the break, lovely play lads.

A quiet start, Connolly hitting the post with a header from a Duffy cross in the 58th minute. Dan Kelly on for Connolly on 60, swapping sides with Duffy. Davenport for Rea with 20 left. Shamrock have had their first shot… And it’s 3-0 in the 79th – Jordan Kelly heading home a Duffy Corner. Benson on for Jenks for the last 10. And fuck me, Duffy’s only scored!! 4-0 in the 92nd minute, pinball and he scores with a thunderbastard of a 2nd go. 95th minute, Davenport gets himself sent off for a second yellow – silly boy, he would have been starting against Longford… It finishes 4-0, superb result, and a massive step to the title.

4 points clear, 3 games in hand. Shamrock can get to 78 points, so we are 3 wins from the title.

And our U19’s beat Derry 5-1, Goals from triallist Joe O’Brien (16yo AMC), Anthony Hurley (17yo DL), Alan Brady (17yo STC) and a brace from triallist Jason Myatt (16yo STC). We will play Waterford or Shamrock in the final.

Tommy Collins & Colin McGarvey both came on in Northern Ireland’s 3-0 loss against France.

16th October 2023 – Longford Town (A) – Irish Premier Division

We travel to Longford, kicking off just over 48 hours after our match versus Shamrock, but the lads are looking in good shape in the main. This is our 30th League game, but our 57th competitive match in all competitions. And we have 13 left!

Changes are Dan kelly for Duffy (Don’t want to kill him), Midfielder Taylor for Corrigan (Suspended for Yellows). Everybody else as is. Longford go cautious – a 3-1-4-2 DM formation. Wide overload anybody? Somehow I feel like this my be a weird one though…

FT Longford 0 Dundalk 2 (McGrath pen 26, Dan Kelly 35) Att 1,012 (283 Away)

Nothing until the 25th minute, when Doherty for Longford is shown a straight red for a lunge on Jenks. From the free kick we get another penalty, O’Shea clattered by Ashton. McGrath to take… 1-0 Dundalk, another lovely Penalty, 3/4 up inside the right post. Great goal to make it 2-0. Gannon with the big arm, Dan Kelly takes it down, swivels and scores beautifully on the bounce. 35 gone. 2-0 at the break.

60, Duffy for Connolly. Longford defending for their lives. Last 15, Youngster Sinclair Armstrong on up top for Jordan Kelly, Benson for Jenks. 2-0 it finished, professional work.

So, Shamrock rescue a point at Waterford, meaning they can get to 76 points. We can all-but-mathematically (GD 34 better than Shamrock) win the title on Friday versus Sligo, and if Shamrock don’t win we just need to better their result. Nice.

Ray Moore had a solid game for Ireland U21 in their 1-0 loss versus Spain as Colm McShane played another 90 minutes. Augusto Laera played 31 minutes at DM in Italy U20’s 1-0 win over England.

Just the 7 lads in the IPD Team of the Week πŸ™‚

Karl Harmon played 90 in Ireland U19’s 1-1 with Georgia and Tommy Carlin played 25 in Northern Ireland U19’s 2-0 win over San Marino.

20th October 2023 – Sligo Rovers (H) – Irish Premier Division

We welcome Sligo to Oriel Park this evening knowing we could be picking up the title at full time. Shamrock are at home to Cobh so that potential is slight, but it’s there.

Pretty much the first team out for this – trying McGarvey up top with Collins, giving Jordan a break after carrying the front line on his own over the last 2 weeks. Sligo going with a cautious 4-4-2.

FT Dundalk 4 (Collins 42, 44, McGrath pen 54, Jordan Kelly 80) Sligo Rovers 0 Att 3,174 (186 Away)

Dundalk on the front foot from the off. Sligo keeping it really tight at the back though. It takes until the 42nd minute to take the lead, and it’s Tommy Collins, finishing a 1-on-1 after being put through after Taylor dispossessed Morahan in the Dundalk half. 1-0 Dundalk. Kick-Off highlight… Collins hits the underside of the bar with a volley, and the Keeper collects. The highlight continues… but the ball ends up back with the Sligo Keeper. The pressure tells though, and it’s 2 2 minutes after the 1st, Collins again, a nice header from a McGrath cross after great work from Jenks. Breaking them down. 2-0 at the break.

Jordan Kelly on for McGarvey at half time, think he will do well. But just 5 minutes in Collins gets a thigh pull…Connolly on as we go 4-4-1-1, McGrath to AM. And in the 54th minute we get yet another penalty, as Duffy is tripped by Donelon. McGrath to take… 3-0, never any thought of him not scoring. just inside the left post. Last 15, Rea for Taylor. 4-0 in the 80th, Jordan Kelly with a true poachers goal, picking up a miscue from Connolly and stabbing home. Sligo nearly have a consolation, but Parkes was just off. 4-0 it finished... No fanfare so Shamrock won their game then.

A point versus St. Pat’s in 3 days and we are champions. Shelbourne leaving it late in the day to try and get themselves out of a hole – their 5-1 win over Waterford just their 2nd win of the season.

Tommy Collins – Pulled Thigh – 10 days – 2 weeks – Not too bad, but he’ll miss a good few games because of it.

Our U19’s beat Wexford 6-1, goals from Chris SHields, Mark Hanratty, Anthony Forde, Sinclair Armstrong and 2 from Dan Cross.

23rd October 2023 – St. Pat’s Athletic (H) – Irish Premier Division

We welcome a St. Pat’s side that hadn’t lost in 9 league games until getting beaten by Cork City on Friday. We know we just need a draw. We also know we have 7 games in the next 14 days…

A strong side out, knowing we’re mugging-off the Man U game in 48 hours in all honesty – I just want to sew the league up. St. Pat’s going 4-4-1-1.

FT Dundalk 3 (McEleney pen 13, 89, McGrath 90+3) St. Pat’s Athletic 0 Att 3,993 (185 Away)

A quietish start – got a message about a bruised thigh for Rea but he looks OK condition-wise. And yet another penalty for Dundalk, 13th minute, Connolly tripped by Long. McEleney on peno duties today… 1-0, blasted home, Keeper going the wrong way. 1-0 Dundalk. His 18th of the season!! Jordan Kelly denied in a 1-on-1 soon after. St. Pat’s not doing too badly but their keeper is keeping them in it. 1-0 at he break, but they look shattered.

FFS!!!!!!! Jenks with a pulled groin – Benson on. 30 left. Ngoy hits the bar with a header soon after. Pulling McGarvey back to AM(S). McGrath on for Connolly, swap sides with McEleney. O’Malley keeps it 1-0 with a lovely save, then Jordan Kelly rattles the crossbar with a header… Last 10, Taylor for Rea. And we finally make it 2. A Gannon long throw, flicked on by McGarvey, Jordan Kelly’s shot blocked but straight to McEleney, who taps into the open net. Looks like the title is heading back to Dundalk lads πŸ™‚ And it’s a celebration, 3-0 in injury time, McGrath with a volley nod-in at the far post after a gorgeous cross by Ryan Corrigan. 3-0 it finished.

Irish Premier Division Winners 2023 – Dundalk

Cobh squander a late lead versus Shelbourne – 90+4!! Would have put them 4 points clear of Longford with just 2 games left for them. Shelbourne not quite down yet.

Just looking at record points totals in the IPD – 88 in 2020 for Dundalk. We can get 91! And that is 6 league title in a row for Dundalk. 32 medals to the players!!

Aaron Jenkinson – Pulled Groin – 5-9 Days. So he’ll miss about 5 games!!!

Ok, twice the wage budget and Β£12M to spend πŸ™‚ We’re going to have some fun πŸ™‚

8 of the lads in the IPD Team of the Week.

Praise from Caesar πŸ™‚

Some interesting results on the Tuesday – Ajax tanked by a team that lost 3-0 to celtic in the last match-day. Chelsea look very strong, and Kobenhavn get all 3 points away in Leverkusen!!

And Roma beat Porto 3-0 in the early game, Leipzig drawing with 1-1 with Real Madrid in the other – rescued in the 86th minute by Real!!!

25th October 2023 – Man Utd (A) – UCL Group D Matchday 3

Old Trafford, Capacity 75.635

We make the short hop over the water to Manchester (Done the Dublin to Manchester flight in under 30 minutes before take-off to landing) to play a Man Utd side currently top of the group and 3rd in the Premier League after 9 games (W6 L3), behind Chelsea and Liverpool. They have the full gamut of stars (Lautaro Martinez top rating currently in the Prem at 8.01) so lets not try to get dry-humped into oblivion.

Cautious 4-4-1-1 Counter, A mix of first teamers and fringe players. Trying Jordan Kelly as a DLF to try and get him involved as an outlet, Resting Jenks as he’s in rehab, Holloway back as the Halfback, Ngoy rested as he’ll be playing in the League in 48 hours. I’ll take a 4-0 (They beat Roma by that). Man Utd go with a Positive 4-3-3 Narrow – Martial & Chiesa up top with Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes running the game. Might go for extremely wide to draw them out a bit.

FT Man Utd 4 (Martial pen 10, 11, 75, Chiesa 33) Dundalk 1 (Jordan Kelly 41) Att 72,390 (536 Away)

They didn’t score from the opening highlight, which is always a bonus πŸ™‚ but somehow we give away another penalty that looks really harsh, Gannon apparently on Martial… 1-0, same player. 2-0 a minute later, same player, header at the far post. 2 and 3rd goals of the season. This is pretty relentless. 3-0 33rd, Chiesa with a tap in after a Gallardo cross. But we get 1 back πŸ™‚ Jordan kelly finishing well from a McGrath pass πŸ™‚ De Gea beaten at the near post πŸ™‚ We get into half-time 3-1 down – nice to have scored though!

Connolly on for Duffy at half time. We’ve taken 536 fans to Old Trafford this evening. We get to 60, Corrigan looking shattered, Davenport on. Looking more composed this half. Getting McShane on for McGrath for the last 20 – I’ve not played him anywhere near enough this season, but it’s because he’s an AM, and we aren’t playing that. He’s training to play as an MR now. But I’m playing him at AMR today. Somehow Martial gets his hat-trick after the ball pin-balls after a corner. 4-1 away, I’ll take it.

Roma beat Porto 3-0 in the other game in Group D. Nice to see Max Aarons at Liverpool as well πŸ™‚ We can forget about Europe for a couple of weeks now, 4 league games and a Cup Final before we play Man Utd at Tallaght Stadium.

Another fillip for our U19’s – They beat Roma U20’s 3-2, goals from Jim Collins (16yo STC) and a brace from Martin kenny – Currently top of the U19’s Champions Cup Group!

27th October 2023 – Cobh Ramblers (H) – Irish Premier Division

3rd game in 6 days – we host Cobh Ramblers at Oriel Park after getting back from Manchester late on Monday night – this is Wednesday evening. Luckily we are a professional club so the boys don’t need to worry about anything but Football.

Going 4-4-1-1 to allow Jordan Kelly to rest before Friday’s game against Derry. McShane suits the AP role really nicely at AM(C). McEleney comes into the centre of midfield to play as the DLP. Giving Mazeed Ogungbo a start at left back – He was at Waterford on loan and got injured so I recalled him. He has played 19 times for Dundalk in the 2 seasons prior and is a Nigerian U23 international in game (Think he’s declared for Ireland IRL). I’ve used 35 players this season in First Team matches… Cobh going with a Cautious 4-4-2.

FT Dundalk 3 (McEleney pen 26, McGarvey 44, Rea 68) Cobh Ramblers 0 Att 3,489 (27 Away)

McShane nearly scores within a minute, Higgins (Really rate him as a Keeper) with the save. And then the injuries start – 11th minute, Dan Kelly, tight hamstring (He’s not one of the regulars either) – Duffy on. he’s so bad at finishing it’s not even funny, 2 clear-cuts completely fluffed. Even put him on Shoot Less he’s that bad… Penalty Dundalk, 26th minute, McClelland holding McGarvey back. 1-0, McEleney, 20th of the season!!! And we go 2-0 up just before half-time – McGarvey with the side-foot finish after great team work, and a final pass from McEleney. That’s his 18th of the season. 2-0 at the break. 27 shots, 14 on target!!

We get to 60 – lots of complacent players today. Davenport for Ogungbo, who has done well. 3-0 in the 68th, we’ve not had one for a while, a Glen Rea Thunderbastard πŸ™‚ From about 15 yards. Cunningham on for McCabe for the last 15, swapping with O’Shea, who takes the right-back role. 5 from time Duffy picks up another knock – lower leg this time… It’s an orange though so he plays on. 3-0 it finishes.

Important day for the teams at the bottom – Shelbourne get relegated, Longford need to win their last game and hope Cobh don’t pick up any more points or they are in the playoffs. We play Derry next, who got beaten well by Waterford (Who we have for our last 2 league games somehow!!) – Yes, in less than 48 hours (41.5 hours to be precise – the Sunday games start at 3pm…)

Dan Kelly – Tight Hamstring – 2/3 days. OK, not too bad

Michael Duffy – Tight Calf – 1/2 days. Same

That last game took us to the goalscoring record for the IPD – Now 88, was 85, also Dundalk.

We’ve made a couple of signings – U19’s staff. Alan Hayes (26yo Sports Scientist, 13 for that) and Catherine O’Kane (33yo Physio, 19 for that) come into the youth setup.

29th October 2023 – Derry City (A) – Irish Premier Division

Luckily not an amazingly long trip (Just under 100 miles) to Derry this evening for our ante-penultimate League game of the season (and penultimate opponent) to play a Derry City side currently in 5th, on a run of 2 defeats after winning 5 straight.

Sticking with the 4-4-1-1 with just the 2 first team strikers fit. McGrath slots in at AM, youngster Hanratty gets time on the left, Anthony Forde in on the right for potentially his last game before his release. First choice Centre Mid and Wingbacks as Jenks is back. Derry City going with an Cautious 4-4-1-1 – They need a point at least to go ahead of Cork in 4th with 1 game left for them both.

FT Derry City 0 Dundalk 0 Att 1,360 (249 Away)

Derry starting the game with 3 players under 80% condition. They are up for it though, Morrow looking dangerous as always. They nearly take the lead in the 28th minute, hitting the outside of the post with a header. One of those games where there’s block after block. 0-0 at the break.

Youngster Sinclair Armstrong on for Forde on the right wing at the break. Feels like one of those games. Benson for Jenks on 61. And Derry score in the 63rd minute, but Morrow was just offside, about a yard or so. Holloway for Taylor on 76. And we get to stoppage time. Should have been 1-0 Dundalk, Armstrong with a lovely run forward, but Lawlor keeps Kelly’s effort out. 0-0 it finishes.

Our old friends Cobh are safe for another season πŸ™‚ A really good 2-1 win versus Waterford consigns Longford to a play off versus one of Bohemians, Galway, Drogheda and U.C.D.

Just Waterford left this month, in 48 hours, as we play them twice in 48 hours to end our League season.

Seamus Conneely is retiring – sent him on a coaching course because I’m nice like that πŸ™‚

We’ve now kept 9 consecutive clean sheets in the League – 1 more for the record.

4 of the lads in the IPD Team of the Week.

31st October 2023 – Waterford (A) – Irish Premier Division

Within 48 hours we’ve travelled the whole length of the Ireland from Derry, back home and then to the Deise to face a Waterford side safely in 6th, who have only won 1 of their last 7 competitive matches, losing 4 of them, including us beating them 4-0 at the start of the month in the FAI cup Semi. This is game 5 in 10 days (6 in 13) for us.

Pretty much full rotation again, the only ever-present is Keeper O’Malley (57 games this season so far!!). Armstrong gets a start on the right wing, Ogungbo more time at left back. Waterford also with the 4-4-1-1.

FT Waterford 0 Dundalk 1 (McGarvey 40) Att 1,118 (150 Away)

It’s raining in the sunny South-East this late-autumn evening. Almost 1-0 up early, McGarvey’s shot saved well. Quite an open game early doors. Nearly 1-0 in the 32nd minute, Connolly hitting the post from 25 yards after a beautiful nod-down by McGarvey. Long highlight in the 37th minute. Pretty constant pressure by Dundalk, and we get our reward in the 40th minute, a nice ball over by centre-back Dara O’Shea ends up with McGarvey hammering one in from 15 yards. 1-0 at the break.

Waterford really pressing, but they make a mistake and it should have been 2-0 – McGarvey can’t score the simple ones. 60, Holloway for Rea, Dan Kelly for Connolly, switching sides with Armstrong, who is comfortable on the left. Jenks for Armstrong for the last 10, McEleney to right wing, Dan Kelly to the left, Jenks the DLP. 1-0 it finishes, that 10 straight clean-sheets in the League!

Derry go what they need to to secure 4th with a great win at St. Pat;s, who finish 3rd. Only 2 games left in the League.

That’s it for the games this month – we’ve secured the title and have an FAI Cup Final in 4 days (With Waterford again in our last League game in 48 hours), all in all its been a good month.

Only goals let in were in the UCL. W8 D1 in the IPD. Not too bad. 7 games left to end our season – the lads will get just under 2 months off before we start again πŸ™‚

Just found out we will be playing Crusaders in the Irish Champions Cup Final in Mid-November – They look decent, nothing more.

I leave you with the Key highlights from the games this month – see you soon.

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